Monday, August 28, 2017

How To Be An Asshole and still be Mistaken as God


Hello, my lovely disciples

Let me start by congratulating you for being a lucky bastard. Now now, don’t start fancying yourself as John Snow. Your case is different. You are blessed to be born in India and a time where despite free flowing spirits, spirits are at an all-time low and outrage at an all-time high. With the breakup of Suraj Barjatiya type of familial connections where even the dog is happy, families have become nuclear, happiness an elusive entity, satisfaction comes with no guarantee and everything you cherished is being relegated to history. You are often consumed with the fear of being part of the rootless and faceless herd, leading a life of perpetual consequence. And boy, you are so right!

Now that I have acquainted you with reality, don’t try to kill yourself or others by sharing your soppy poetry about your shitty life. If you follow my guidelines carefully, you can become the most powerful and wealthy asshole, with a following of millions ready to lap-up any bullshit you spew including achhe din. You don’t need degrees from elite institutions or be particularly gifted. All you need is a gift of the gab and a proclivity of making promises you have no intention of fulfilling. You have to master the art of making a fool of millions. Once you’ve achieved that, anything you do or don’t will be hailed as the best thing to have happened to mankind since chhole bhature.

Across the world religion is becoming the fastest growing business venture. Since there’s never a shortage of the gullible masses waiting to believe that their very existence is under threat from evil forces, all you need to do is prey on their fears and make them believe you are their saviour. If they don’t have it, create it. Mine on their ignorance and you will yield a rich harvest of unfounded fears and hostility towards one and all. Make them feel wronged, alienated. Then you can slowly take control of their lives by becoming their spiritual guide, psychologist, family confidante, semen donor and money launderer.

Remember, this is the age of instant noodles, news, outrage, opinion, love, breakups, fame and satisfaction. So why should salvation be left behind! If all it takes is two minutes to commit a grievous sin and make Maggi, it is unreasonable to wait a lifetime for moksha. And since God is like homeopathy, more faith than reality, it makes sense to look for the real deal in flesh and blood.

So here lies your opportunity for becoming their God. The one that can be seen, touched, heard, and is a one stop shop of redressal for all their grievances.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dear Magazine, I am not sorry we broke up



The newspaper is dying a slow death, but not in India. For many households it’s still the perfect accompaniment with morning tea even though the many reports of horrific rapes and killings fill you with sorrow and disgust at the same time. Every member of the family has a favourite page. During my teen-angsty days ‘the middle’ mostly witty accounts of personal anecdotes, was my favourite. My Dad stuck to the sports page and Mom would devour very inch of the paper. When the ‘middle’ was removed, I shed lonely tears on its demise. Unfortunately, there was no social media where I could call for a candlelight vigil.

These days I spend most time on the editorial page. In this age of constant explosion of news that’s breaking the Internet every few minutes, you need a learned and well-informed pen to help you make sense of the chaos and cacophony that passes off as news.

As in any middle class home where a household item has nine lives before its expiry, the newspaper too enacts many roles with ease. After it has fulfilled its purpose of informing and sending ripples of outrage down our spine, it quietly takes on the humble job of lining shelves in cupboards and cleaning windows. The ones that escape this ordeal hand meekly surrender themselves to the local raddiwala who defies inflation and offers lesser and lesser money for the same pile.

As I hand over the stack of rustling newspapers to its new custodian, I can’t help but notice the few odd magazines cutting a lonely picture. I carefully avert my eyes from their accusing glances. They believe I have forsaken them for a new lover and they are right.

Damn you, online distractions!

The fact is, we did have a passionate love affair for decades. They were my besties after a long, tiring day, my before bed companion, the secret behind my know-all attitude. I remember how excited RayMan was when I trundled home with Cosmopolitan and 110 ways to make your man sigh in bed. I read them all, giggled, rolled my eyes and then promptly forgot all the tips. And my man let out a loud sigh.

It was through Illustrated Weekly I discovered great artists and their work. My Maa’s Bangla magazine with its agony aunt column where youngsters would share incestuous, forbidden and supremely weird but exciting tales of love and longing stoked my desire to learn the language. Magazines were a one stop shop for stories, opinion pieces, satire and how to use onion juice to rejuvenate your hair.

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